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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Feb 21 2014 1:00pm
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I love this game. I love writing about it. Compiling lists about it. Evaluating it. Sometimes, I even play it. I'm an Accidental Player.

 Pape satan, pape satan aleppe! After the holy Angelpedia, it's now the turn of the other half of the sky (that is, the deeply buried underground half): here's the complete Demonpedia! Enjoy. Or be damned.


 

  • Definition: every Demon creature in the game
  • Number of cards: 69
  • What you need to know: Body is the sum of Power and Toughness; the Rating is calculated on a scale from 0 to 10; the entries are ordered by casting cost groups (I called them Legions and gave them names based on places from Dante's Inferno, but that's just for fun, so please skip any theological or literary debate), then alphabetically.
  • Click HERE to go directly to the hypertextual list at the end with all of the entries.
  • Click HERE to check all the latest additions.

THE FIVE DEMONIC LEGIONS

>> complete list << 



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1. 

  • Name: Treacherous Pit-Dweller   >> summary
  • Set: Avacyn Restored
  • Converted Mana Cost: 2
  • Body: 7
  • General Evaluation: "Say hello to my little friend!" The cheapest Demon ever isn't a very trustworthy friend, though, as he's more than ready to switch allegiance to your opponent as soon as his undying ability triggers. This will teach you to let him die! I can see Treacherous Pit-Dweller included (or at least, contemplated) in fast burn decks, as a sort of turn-2 Vexing Devil, but it's really not even the same sport. I can't bring my mind to accept a strategy that plays on the hope that your opponent won't have any kind of removal among their first 9-10 cards, because it would mean betting on facing an unlucky or unprepared opponent, and that's a flawed way of thinking. Sure, our treacherous fella makes for a scary early presence, but he's also giving the guy on the other side of the table the chance to turn every Lightning Bolt in: "R: Exile target Demon with converted mana cost 2; put a 5/4 black Demon creature onto the battlefield".
  • Tribal Evaluation: You might consider him if you want to try and build an all-Acheron Demon deck, taking advantage of the Innistrad additions to set yourself free from the general midrange feel of the Demon tribe. But things with him on the board might go very messy, very fast.
  • Rating: 4

 

2. 

  • Name: Demonic Taskmaster   >> summary
  • Set: Avacyn Restored
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 7
  • General Evaluation: Now, the Taskmaster is a reliable guy. He's not very resilient, but he flies, and he can be out in the field as early as turn 1 where a Dark Ritual is involved, or very soon in any case. And yes, he asks for sacrifices, but unlike some of his bigger brothers, nothing happens if you can't give him the craved blood. That's a very important clause, since it means you are really able to drop it in the first turns with no worries. More so, it's perfect as a lone beater in control decks, or in combo decks where you want to kill your other creatures for whatever reason, and still be able to keep the opponent busy while you wait for your endgame.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Problem is: when almost all your other creatures are Demons, chances are you won't want to kill them before they can even get to attack, or else keep them all in hand until your Taskmaster gets dealt with.
  • Rating: 7

 

3. 

  • Name: Herald of Torment   >> summary
  • Set: Born of the Gods
  • Additional Type: Enchantment 
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 6
  • General Evaluation: Ignore the bestow ability (which might even come in handy, if rarely): this is a 3/3 flyer for 3. It has the Juzam Djinn upkeep cost while being way weaker, body-wise (not to mention, boltable), but it's still a 3-mana flyer in Demon form. It is a big deal.
  • Tribal Evaluation: And it's especially a big deal within its tribe, which lacked a consistent 3-drop without much of a downside (you'll get 1 damage per turn, but chances are you'll deal 3). This will see play, and lots of it.
  • Rating: 8

 

4. 

  • Name: Illusory Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Alara Reborn
  • Additional Type: Illusion 
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 7
  • General Evaluation: Illusory Demon feels similar to Demonic Taskmaster, but it's clearly worse, at least in regular decks: you can't drop him and control the board, since everything you'll do to accomplish that will kill your own Demon as a result, nullifying your strategy. Might be worth considering as an early presence in decks with a battle plan who kicks in only at midrange or later, but even in those cases, you won't be allowed to ramp or set the board in any way if not by dropping lands, so it might be useful for a couple turns only. However, there's still the fact that at CMC 3, it's subject to certain kinds of recursive shenanigans, Sun Titan-style.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Another case where the other Demons in your deck will grow a little unruly waiting for this guy to get out of the way; but with an important difference: unlike with Demonic Taskmaster, the other Demons are actually able to kill him by just being cast. And since there's a good chance they will be at higher spots in the mana curve, Illusory Demon might work as an excellent early presence. He asks for a little blue splash, but that's usually not a concern with a good mana base, even in Cabal Coffers decks. As an Illusion, though, he's probably not a good choice, since he would hinder next-turn drops like Phantasmal Dragon, Chronozoa, Phantom Beast, and the generally tumultuous attitude of the tribe.
  • Rating: 6

 

5. 

  • Name: Soulcage Fiend   >> summary
  • Set: Avacyn Restored
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 5
  • General Evaluation: Another demonic 3-drop who may be cause of troubles. On the one side, he lowers the life total of both players, and that's possibly a good thing in Suicide Black-like decks where you inflict yourself a lot of life losses in order to impact the opponent's own total faster. On the other side, given his underwhelming body he might not be able to connect or trade with anything relevant, so the triple life loss might be his only real contribution to the battle plan, and at that point something like Bump in the Night would prove a strictly better option in his place.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Decent, but somehow tricky: he doesn't really stop anything from attacking while waiting for the bigger Demons to come. And he actually helps the faster decks (which means many of the other linear tribal decks) to bring you to 0 life before the really scary Demons even had a chance to show up. Still, he's clearly worth including (if not absolutely needed) in those Demon decks that aim to stay low in the curve, maybe supported by an aggressive disruption strategy.
  • Rating: 5

 

6. 

  • Name: Abyssal Persecutor   >> summary
  • Set: Worldwake
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: Ah, the Persecutor. How powerful, how deceiving. You are given the chance of dropping a 6/6 flying trampling monstrosity for Hill Giant mana. Only problem is: as long as he'll be there, you won't be able to win the game. Getting rid of it becomes the battle plan, and might not be as easy as it seems, at least in non-dedicated builds. Sure, you can count on the opponent finding a solution for you before getting too low on life, for fear that YOU will have the solution after they would cross the 0-life mark. But sometimes, it just doesn't happen. Still, great card, and great design.
  • Tribal Evaluation: The strongest of the fast Demons, the more problematic. It certainly makes for a perfect pair with Demonlord of Ashmouth or Demonic Taskmaster, though.
  • Rating: 8

 

7. 

  • Name: Demonlord of Ashmouth   >> summary
  • Set: Avacyn Restored
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 9
  • General Evaluation: Of course, the first thing they made sure while designing this guy was not to turn him into a 6/5 flyer for 4: alas, you can't have him trigger his own undying, but you might very well have something you are fine with sacrificing by the time you reach 4 mana (for instance, a Perilous Myr, or Viridian Emissary). His stats are impressive for a 4 CMC creature, and make him a better creature than he's probably accounted for. Watch out for the undying causing another sacrifice, though: it might reveal a tricky predicament.
  • Tribal Evaluation: It's not equally easy to have some good sacrifice fodder in a Demon deck as it is elsewhere, unless your plan was just to drop Soulcage Fiend on turn 3, attack with him on turn 4, then cast this one and look at the opponent from a possible 17-14 position with a big undying flyer on the battlefield. Not bad, but by the time you will really get into using the sacrifice-eager Demons, you might be able to discover that what they really like to eat are tiny, sweet, endless Faeries. Just saying.
  • Rating: 8

 

8. 

  • Name: Desecration Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Return to Ravnica
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: "Scary fattie on turn 4" is a recipe that Demons (and a very ancient, notorious Djinn) try to get right since the times of Grinning Demon. And sometimes they get it absolutely right: Desecration Demon is something the opponent has no choice but to deal with fast, because either they have a reliable free token generator (and in that case, they just lose any advantage or battle plan contribution it might give), or just trying to stall this ever-growing monster with their own creatures won't last long, and will cause a ridiculous card advantage count for the Desecration player. Maybe he will never get a chance to actually attack, but the sheer quantity of mischief he's able to cause is really worth it.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Hard not to consider this one in any Demon deck, fast or slow. In the latter case, he might well be the lower end of the curve.
  • Rating: 9

 

9. 

  • Name: Grinning Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Onslaught
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: Here's a timeless classic. Taking a page from Juzám Djinn's book of tricks, Grinning Demon upped the ante a little bit, although one might find that a mere +1/+1 modifier isn't worth a double life bleeding. Still, he's solid, and the morph option makes it slightly more versatile.
  • Tribal Evaluation: The go-to 4 CMC Demon. He's still able to make his presence on the board noteworthy. However, the upkeep cost may be a cause for worry in a meta where fast aggro and burn are plentiful. Plus, Abyssal Persecutor, Demonlord of Ashmouth, and Desecration Demon are all excellent alternatives in his slot, albeit each of them bringing issues of their own to the table.
  • Rating: 8

 

10. 

  • Name: Rakdos, Lord of Riots   >> summary
  • Set: Return to Ravnica
  • Additional Type: Legendary 
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: After reading the rules text for the second incarnation of the mighty Rakdos, one can't help but feel extremely excited: you get to live the dream of a 4 CMC Demon with Abyssal Persecutor stats and no downside, plus if you connect with him next turn, you get at least 6 free mana to cast more fatties? That's insane! What were they thinking?! It's broken! Whoa now, let's chill out a little bit, shall we? Rakdos the 2nd is indeed an amazing creature, but there's a number of elements to be considered with him. First of all, dropping him by turn 4 isn't going to be effortless: you need double-colored mana of two different flavors (so Dark Ritual is out of the picture here, even where legal), and you also need something capable of dealing damage already on the board, or else you'll have to factor in the mana needed to fuel a direct damage spell. It's nothing too hard to accomplish, but still something you'll have to actively work towards. Another thing is: all that free colorless mana you'll hopefully get while Rakdos is online (which was conceived as the new Rakdos guild's paincast mechanic, but ended up on the guild leader alone) may feel like a case of "win more". It's obviously too frail and unreliable a condition to become an enabler for some sort of Eldrazi ramp, so you're not going to try and include in the deck a dozen fatties to be possibly dropped via Rakdos. Sure, connecting with Rakdos and getting a free Wurmcoil Engine or semi-free Inferno Titan out of it is sweet, and nearly lethal, but it's a bit of a best case scenario. This said, the strategic advantage you get from consistently reducing your colorless cost for critters is huge, and if not quite a "build around me" factor, it's surely a great bonus to what remains an insanely cheap finisher anyway.
  • Tribal Evaluation: The main issue with Rakdos in Demon decks is that you are forced to include a heavy red base to be sure you'll be able to have those two red mana early on. Of course, you may just achieve this through Badlands and Blood Crypt in order to not disrupt Cabal Coffers, but it remains to evaluate what else red brings to your deck, and that certainly wouldn't be the few red Demons, as they are mostly stinkers. Here's the thing about Rakdos colors: they're not a very interesting midrange pair. They don't give each other nothing that each of them doesn't already have on its own, and if you don't aim to maximize a fast burn/beatdown strategy (which, admittedly, they're very good at), you don't really have a good reason to play this color combination at all. And yet it's what its namesake patron would like for you to do.
  • Commander Evaluation: Rakdos 2.0 certainly makes for a strong commander. In a format where you usually run big, splashy stuff like it's nothing, his mana-producing ability is really scary. Still, as Mike Morales points out in the comments, he doesn't have any protection besides his solid toughness (which rarely means much in Commander), and is the kind of thing that paints a big target on both his back and yours.
  • Rating: 9

 

11. 

  • Name: Razorjaw Oni   >> summary
  • Sets: Saviors of Kamigawa, Commander
  • Additional Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 9
  • General Evaluation: A semi-decent vanilla beater with an exorbitant, ridiculous drawback? Not the kind of stuff you get all worked up about. There's a case where you want to splash this and mess with your mono-black opponent's defenses, but even as a sideboard card, it's laughable.
  • Tribal Evaluation: The options at CMC 4 for Demons (and Spirit, for that matter) are so many and so better that this Kamigawa leftover isn't even worth a second look.
  • Rating: 3

 

12. 

  • Name: Scourge of Numai   >> summary
  • Set: Betrayers of Kamigawa
  • Additional Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 8
  • General Evaluation: So, what not to love about a Grinning Demon with built-in Dead Weight? Well, what about everything?
  • Tribal Evaluation: But wait, if you play it within an Ogre tribal deck, there's some chances you'll get your 4/4 for 4 and no flip side! (Provided at least an Ogre will stick.) Way to make Ogre more interesting, eh?
  • Rating: 2


13. 

  • Name: Shimatsu the Bloodcloaked   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Additional Types: Legendary Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 0 (variable)
  • General Evaluation: I wonder what the "Legend of Shimatsu" is based on. Is he the Loser of the Games? The Scourge of the Winning Ratio? Maybe that's what "Bloodcloaked" refers to: he bathes in your own blood! Of course, you can concoct a strategy where his asinine way of clearing your side of the board might become a weapon, thanks to some Balance effect. But then why not to play the infinitely superior and outright more effective Greater Gargadon instead? Which is in fact what everyone in their right mind would play in those kinds of decks over this moron.
  • Tribal Evaluation: This is one of the many occasions where I'll get to say: bad red Demons are bad. Of course, Spirits don't even bother to turn their collective head to contemptuously look on Shimatsu's general direction.
  • Commander Evaluation: Weirdly enough, he might work as the leader of a combo deck where you aim to play some of the abovementioned Balance effects. Too bad they are almost exclusively in white and this guy's red.
  • Rating: 0

 

14. 

  • Name: Yukora, the Prisoner   >> summary
  • Sets: Betrayers of Kamigawa
  • Additional Types: Legendary Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: At least with Yukora, the leader of the merry band of the underwhelming Kamigawa Demons (along with Razorjaw Oni, Scourge of Numai, Gutwrencher Oni, and Painwracker Oni), you get a proper Juzám Djinn. Apparently, that was deemed strong enough to warrant a legendary status. Too bad he's still trying to push you into playing Ogres as the only other creatures in your deck, and sadly for him, this is hardly gonna happen. Still, he is a proper Juzám Djinn, after all.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Since you don't really want to put Ogres in Demon or Spirit decks, and still lose all the other Demons or Spirits when Yukora dies, we should treat him uniquely as an off-tribe addition to Ogre decks. But even there, you won't get all this mileage out of a midrange vanilla beater, although the ratio between body and cost is good and you might want to include one or two copies of him for Blood Speaker to fetch and other black Kamigawa Ogres (Bloodthirsty Ogre, Raving Oni-Slave, Takenuma Bleeder, and Villainous Ogre) to rely upon to satisfy their requirements. Of course, you might still want not to build black Kamigawa Ogres at all, but this is another story.
  • Commander Evaluation: I can't really imagine why someone would want Yukora as their commander. But people are strange.
  • Rating: 6

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15. 

  • Name: Bloodgift Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Innistrad
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 9
  • General Evaluation: He flies, he swings for 5, he gives you a free Phyrexian Arena. He's living the midrange dream.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Demon decks play four copies of this guy. It's just a fact.
  • Rating: 10

 

16. 

  • Name: Gutwrencher Oni   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Additional Type: Spirit 
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 9
  • General Evaluation: Here we are again: when you look at it in hindsight, the Kamigawa block's attempt to make you build a double tribal deck Ogre/Demon, where the weaker creature type would enable the stronger, was somehow cute. The problem is the execution: the 5 Demon-linked Ogres (Blood Speaker, Bloodthirsty Ogre, Raving Oni-Slave, Takenuma Bleeder, and Villainous Ogre) all amount to common and uncommon filler which, with the possible exception of Blood Speaker, are outright terrible until you have a Demon on the board, and barely decent afterwards (while the bonus rare legendary land Tomb of Urami is utterly ridiculous). And the 4 Ogre-linked Demons (Yukora, the Prisoner, Scourge of Numai, Gutwrencher Oni, and Painwracker Oni) are all midrange vanilla beaters with an unnecessary Ogre-based downside. None of them is worth the effort to build an Ogre deck, even in a casual environment. Take this one, for instance: his stats are decent, but at the end of the day, it's just a 5/4 trampler for 5 mana with a punishing downside. Even Sengir Vampire is essentially better, and that's just not looking past the Alpha.
  • Tribal Evaluation: As I said, this only makes sense if you have a black Kamigawa Ogre deck you want to provide with an enabler. And actually, it's bad even in that case: just put some better Demons in that damned Ogre deck of yours, instead!  The only case Gutwrencher Oni might have a purpose is if you need a discard outlet to reanimate stuff, and putting it one inside the tribal base frees some nontribal slots for you. He won't be very fast or reliable at getting the discard going, but at least will do something useful by putting that Griselbrand in position.
  • Rating: 3

 

17. 

  • Name: Halo Hunter   >> summary
  • Set: Zendikar
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 9
  • General Evaluation: The main function of Halo Hunter was to be a removal top on a stick against Zendikar Angels. In a larger meta, the odds of him meeting his favored prey by chance are fairly bad. Even in Modern, where you can count on Restoration Angel or Linvala, Keeper of Silence to show up regularly, and even inside toolbox archetypes like Birthing Pod, he's not worth a sideboard slot. The competition is just too strong, his toughness makes him frail, and the ability to swing for 6 intimidating damage isn't reliable enough to warrant an inclusion. Sorry, man. Your flavor is nice, though. 
  • Tribal Evaluation: Considering his main strength would really shine only within an Angel vs. Demon event, but in that case it would probably be banned or restricted, it looks like there's really no place for this serial killer of Angels (the Feather Collector?) in the Magic world.
  • Rating: 4

 

18. 

  • Name: Kagemaro, First to Suffer   >> summary
  • Set: Saviors of Kamigawa
  • Additional Types: Legendary Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: *
  • General Evaluation: As far as Kamigawa Demons go (and they don't usually go that far), Kagemaro is definitely a star. You have to look at him less as a creature and more as a Mutilate on a stick. Sure, it's a situational effect, and it requires one additional mana to activate, but it's still a good option for midrange black decks that don't unload their entire hand in the first few turns, and maybe also have a few ways to refill it down the line.
  • Tribal Evaluation: There are other, more powerful Demons capable of providing mass creature destruction of sort (Carnifex Demon, Pestilence Demon, Reiver Demon), but Kagemaro is the faster. The situational nature of the killing tends to be mitigated in Demon decks, most of which are midrange or slower, and a late activation with 2 or 3 cards in hand is very likely to left your army untouched while still potentially crippling the other side of the table. The chance to save a nontribal slot thanks to a tribal creature able to perform a similar task (in this case: the role of a mass removal) is always welcome, and it's something even Spirit decks might be interested in.
  • Commander Evaluation: What he does is something you might well want to recur from the Commander Zone again and again over the course of a long, control-based game.
  • Rating: 7

 

19. 

  • Name: Master of Cruelties   >> summary
  • Set: Dragon's Maze
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 5
  • General Evaluation: Master of Cruelties does some amazing things, but it's a bit tricky to evaluate. He can win you the game. Almost. Actually, he can't win the game by himself at all since he can never deal that final damage. And how easy can be to attack with him without meeting a blocker? Probably not that easy. But that's where his other abilities come into play: Whatever you use to block him, if it's not somehow protected or indestructible, it'll die. You may have a lot of chump blockers to keep avoiding losing precious creatures or going down to the very dangerous scenario of being at 1 life (which is very neat against lifegaining decks like Soul Sisters, by the way). But the Master will still be dictating the pace of the game, which isn't a bad thing to do. Plus, in a pinch, he's a great blocker. I know, Rakdos wouldn't probably be very happy to see him used to stall the board rather than raining down carnage; but it's what Master of Cruelties does best.
  • Tribal Evaluation: In a Rakdos-colored build, there should be a few copies of him. Elsewhere, it's probably not necessary unless you're chasing some late endgame and you want something to control the battlefield and survive as much as possible.
  • Rating: 8

 

20. 

  • Name: Ob Nixilis, the Fallen   >> summary
  • Set: Zendikar
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 6
  • General Evaluation: Ob Nixilis never found a proper home within any format in which he was or is playable. And this is very sad, because our boy Ob is arguably the strongest landfall creature in existence. You just have to remember to look at him as a wincon, not as a creature, and therefore drop him the turn you can follow by dropping that fetchland you have in hand (or by activating those two fetchlands you have in play), not the turn before. If everything goes according to the plan, you'll end the same turn with a 9/9 and 6 life less to worry about. In the right deck, an unattended Ob doesn't take long to win the game, and he rarely has to attack (he rather wouldn't). And he's cheap enough to hardcast that you can easily run a playset, to keep another copy ready when the first one is inevitably dealt with.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Demon decks can include Ob without twisting themselves too much. You just have to include at least 8 fetchlands, and possibly other kinds of land tutoring (maybe even Liliana of the Dark Realms), which is hardly a bad thing to do in general and especially when you have some mana-intensive Demons in there.
  • Commander Evaluation: The loss of life targets one player at a time, so it's not very strategical. In Commander you have access to a number of insane ways to drop a large quantity of lands at once, and the resources to pull that off, but you'd need at least green for that. This makes any attempt to build around Ob Nixilis as a commander kind of a rare oddity.
  • Rating: 8

 

21. 

  • Name: Painwracker Oni   >> summary
  • Sets: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Additional Type: Spirit 
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 9
  • General Evaluation: The twin brother of Gutwrencher Oni trades flying for fear as a keyword, and discard for creature sacrifice as an upkeep cost. He's not the brighter one in an already not-to-bright family, even the Ogres can see that.
  • Tribal Evaluation: The reason all the Kamigawa Demons are also Spirits is because the Japanese word "oni" doesn't refer to the Western concept of "demon", which is mostly linked to religious beliefs. Spirit decks don't care since 2004.
  • Rating: 2

 

22.    

  • Name: Ravenous Demon   >> summary
  • Sets: Dark Ascension
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5 (after transformation: 0)
  • Body: 8 (after transformation: 18)
  • General Evaluation: Ok, let's start from the end: there might actually be a case where you have a Human creature you really, really want to sacrifice (say, Academy Rector), and you like to do so and get a big monster in the process. Too bad the big monster keeps asking for more sacrifices, Lord of the Pit-style, and he's not really going to change diet: either you have other Humans for him to snack upon, or you're pretty much doomed. Add the facts that you don't even get to sacrifice the first Human in the end phase, and that you have plenty of other options for similar finishers that are less obsessed with particular creature types, and you'll understand why pretty much nobody ever plays this particular transformer, as much flavorful as he is.
  • Tribal Evaluation: What about looking for another, safer sacrifice outlet for your Human deck? I don't know, maybe one that doesn't try to kill you sooner or later? And that's not a strictly worse Earth Elemental in the meantime?
  • Rating: 2

 

23. 

  • Name: Renegade Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Avacyn Restored
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 8
  • General Evaluation: Along with Soulcage Fiend, the only common Demon ever printed (Lady Orca would become common in the Master's Edition). Entirely vanilla, wildly sub-par, nothing to be seen here.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Seriously, nothing to be seen here.
  • Rating: 1

 

24. 

  • Name: Seizan, Perverter of Truth   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Additional Types: Legendary Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 11
  • General Evaluation: It's a general flavor, and one that Kamigawa block particularly insisted upon, that in order to convince a Demon to fight on your side, you have to stipulate some sort of pact with him, a pact that usually involves both an upside and a downside. In this case, it's the same, classic combination of drawing cards in exchange of life that's featured in popular black cards like Night's Whisper or Sign in Blood. Only, for some reason, Seizan forces the other players to partake at each upkeep. It's not a bad deal, actually, and there are good ways to set up your deck in a way that takes greater advantage from drawing into more fuel and seeing the opponent's life total go down. And a body 11, although non-evasive, might even help sealing the deal.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Seizan seems perfect as a top-of-the-curve guy in a fast Demon build, where you want to refill your emptied hand and accelerate that delicate process that brings the opponent down to 0 life.
  • Commander Evaluation: I never personally experienced a Commander table with Seizan in it, but it looks like it might be fast and furious fun. Of course, it's easy to build a mono-black deck that exploits the decreasing life and refilling hands the most, but games with Seizan have to be generally weird and a lot quicker, especially considering the reluctance to kill him before he's given you some more cards. Just two more! Just another turn and I'll kill him, I promise! Ah, these Demons and their irresistible temptations.
  • Rating: 7

 

25. 

  • Name: Shadowborn Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Magic 2014
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 11
  • General Evaluation: Let's put this out of the way: the provided combo with a deck entirely made up Shadowborn Apostles is just for kitchen tables. And even in that case, it's dumb and boring. I don't even get the flavor: there's a cult devoted to these Demons whose indifferentiate members are willing to commit mass suicide (what happened to carefully selected sacrificial victims?) in order to summon up one of them, which will be perfectly satisfied as long as he sees at least 6 bodies lying around? What is he, a moderately hungry Demon? "Care for a sacrifice more?" "No, thanks, I think I had enough after the last six". But silliness and blatantly Timmy mechanics apart, this Demon is, in himself, a blast. For 5 mana you are given a big flyer, the best evasive beater of this entire legion, and you also get to kill something! And if the battlefield is empty, you can still cast him, since he doesn't kill himself! And that ETB effect, the less conditional ever printed on a black creature, only asks to be abused. All right, there's a downside, I'm getting to it. The Shadowborn has essentially an upkeep cost, which was meant to be turned off by the corpses of those silly Apostles. But it's not that hard to devise a better strategy that ends up with the same graveyard status. Still, that's the one issue that prevents this to be one of the Top 3 Demon creatures in the game (and probably one of the top black creatures altogether). It's still in the high percentile, though.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Admittedly, the 6-creatures-in-the-graveyard clause is hard to fulfill in a typical Demon deck, except for reanimator builds with massive discard or entombing a la Buried Alive, where Shadowborn Demon might have the role of a secondary finisher you reserve to hardcast when you ran out of reanimators. Or you can have some amount of token generation (like, you know, Bitterblossom) as an insurance. Or supporting stuff you want to sacrifice, although this starts to become a very complicate build to pull off.
  • Rating: 8

 

26. 

  • Name: Sol'kanar the Swamp King   >> summary
  • Sets: Legends, Time Spiral "Timeshifted"
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: In the once popular Sol'kanar you can see all the revealing traits of a card that stems from a time when they had no real clues how to design a good creature. Legends is a set especially notorious for having the most terrible creatures ever printed, and Sol'kanar doesn't even look that bad when compared to stuff like Jedit Ojanen or Gabriel Angelfire. Still, you have to spend 5 mana in a proto-Grixis combination to get a 5/5 with swampwalk. With the meager bonus of a built-in Demon's Horn (well, at least it isn't a Throne of Bone, I guess). Granted, a 5/5 for 5 with fairly possible evasion (Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth currently existing and all) is somehow solid. Being a Timeshifted card also gives him access to Modern. The problem is that we're not in 1994 anymore, and a three-colored midrange beater needs to do something more these days. Still somehow playable, though, which is more of what you can say for a lot of the grandpa arsenal from before Mirage.
  • Tribal Evaluation: There's actually one case in which Sol'kanar is relevant in a Demon deck: when you go for a Defiler of Souls, multicolored build.
  • Commander Evaluation: Nostalgia builds aside, you really need to love the guy a lot to choose him to lead your Grixis-colored Commander deck.
  • Rating: 6

 

27. 

  • Name: The Wretched   >> summary
  • Sets: Legends, Fifth Edition
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 7
  • General Evaluation: The Wretched has recently reached the age of consent. In his 18 years of life, though, he rarely made into a competitive decklist, if at all. And yet, the first time we all read his ability, it invariably evoked a fascinating scenario where we kept stealing more and more dead creatures. It's a trick they later would give mostly to vampires, as they have the flavor of turning their victims into enslaved minions. Unlike other similar cards, though, The Wretched doesn't need to actually kill the creatures. But he only works when he's attacking, and that's bad enough. The even worse thing is that the effect isn't permanent (as opposed to, say, Beguiler of Wills). He remains just a nostalgic dream of that hypothetical power creature that he never was.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Even within a Demon deck, that would often be equipped to cast bigger critters, five mana are still five mana. And sadly for him, you have better ways to spend them than on this bit of ancient junk.
  • Rating: 4

 

28. 

  • Name: Woebringer Demon   >> summary
  • Sets: Ravnica: City of Guilds
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 8
  • General Evaluation: Woebringer Demon is a solid representative of the family of The Abyss-like permanents that come with a built-in end (Drop of Honey, Porphyry Nodes). He's no Sheoldred for sure, but he's also a 5 CMC creature. Which of course doesn't mean he's actually fast, but still easier to hardcast than the Praetor lady. The 4/4 flying body isn't bad nor great, and the fact that he would pretty much immediately die if dropped onto an empty board causes some situational concern. But all in all, he has its merits, might do well in the right deck, possibly one that might be able to recur him, or provide him with some token factory to ensure regular, fresh meals, to the opponent's displeasure.
  • Tribal Evaluation: The twist in demonic sacrifice: everybody has to equally feed the unholy bloodcraze. It's fairly possible that your board will have better creatures than the opponent's, but if used cleverly, this guy might still give some card advantage to the Demon player. Worst case scenario: it's a Diabolic Edict, or more to the point, a delayed Fleshbag Marauder plus 4 evasive damage, especially good if you happen to have a Demonlord of Ashmouth ready to undie, or some out-of-control suicide Demon you want to get rid of.
  • Rating: 7

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29. 

  • Name: Carnifex Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Scars of Mirrodin
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: Getting to "Titan mana" isn't such a big deal in modern Magic, where it was essentially unheard-of in competitive decks of past times. And yet, the expression "Titan mana" itself is revealing: the example set by the namesake M11 Titans is undoubtedly hard to live up to for any 6 CMC creature that has ambitions of occupying their spot in the curve. Only two non-Titan creatures recently made the cut, even outpowering some of the Titans themselves: Consecrated Sphinx and Wurmcoil Engine. The requisites seem to be: card advantage and immediate impact, paired with an offensive strength or bonus tactical advantages that can turn the creature into a suitable finisher. How Carnifex Demon do in this regard? Well, not bad at all. While he was never a tier-1 creature, if not briefly within SOM Block Constructed, his mass removal effect, although limited, is effective and very hard to avoid, as it ignores pretty much everything, from regeneration to indestructibility and protection. And when he's done with that, he's a pretty impressive flyer with the potential to provide further counter-related shenanigans (see at the entry: two Carnifex Demons on the board). The main problem is the lack of impact in the turn you paid 6 mana to summon him and are left to a 4/4 who just craves for the next turn to be there already.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Best thing about using Carnifex on your Demon deck? The chance you'll be using 4 of them, so you can do that sweet, sweet combo where they keep bouncing -1/-1 counters off one another, annihilating everything else in the process.
  • Rating: 8

 

30. 

  • Name: Defiler of Souls   >> summary
  • Sets: Alara Reborn
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: Compared to Woebringer Demon's, Defiler of Souls' The Abyss-like effect feels more like the real deal: you keep causing two-sided sacrifices while hopefully taking advantage of the one clause that protect from the sacrifice itself. In the case of The Abyss, it was being an artifact; here, it's being multicolored, which is a bit narrower (not by a long shot anymore, though), but workable. Plus, the deal comes on 5/5 flying body that already meets the basic requisite for surviving the effect (and the required red splash is minimal). Not a creature you immediately build around, but certainly one you might want to.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Definitely the Demon you would think of when building a multicolored Demon deck.
  • Rating: 7

 

31. 

  • Name: Demonic Hordes   >> summary
  • Sets: Alpha to Revised
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: One of the two original Demons from Alpha, whose heritage is totally forgotten nowadays, despite the "tap to destroy one land" effect seems very broken by today's standards. Sure, having to tap a 5/5 for that is somehow clumsy (on the bright side, your repeatable land destruction permanent is a bit harder to kill this way, and you get a good finisher for when, you know, the Hordes are done destroying all the opponent's lands). And there's that terrible upkeep cost with suicidal clause, which fortunately is a design space Magic steered away from in later years, but was typical of early Demons and black creatures in general. However, all things considered, I'd still like better to play Demonic Hordes than most of the same-costed creatures from the following 5-6 year's worth of Magic sets.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Probably not the best choice at CMC 6, unless your deck cares for land destruction for some overall strategic reason. Still cute, though, and eminently nostalgic without being outright bad. It should have been retconned as Devil, though. Demons would be later identified with single big, scary guys, not large groups of mischievous little dudes.
  • Rating: 6

 

32. 

  • Name: Extractor Demon   >> summary
  • Sets: Conflux, Commander
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: Extractor Demon commands respect mainly for the combos that his worded ability allows, especially the ultimate milling achieved with a couple of Sharuum the Hegemon infinitely killing and reviving each other. Asides from that, though, he's just a 5/5 flyer for 6, which puts him in the "pretty decent yet not strong enough" category. Unearth for 3 makes it a little more interesting, providing recursion and a possible final punch through one last evasive swing. But if you don't care for the milling, you have many other options at this point of the curve.
  • Tribal Evaluation: You either commit your Demon deck to an Extractor combo, or you can find more versatile stuff to just be aggressive with a Phlegeton dweller.
  • Rating: 6

 

33. 

  • Name: Harvester of Souls   >> summary
  • Set: Avacyn Restored
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: Here's the thing about deathtouch: it does almost nothing on a larger creature. They keep giving it to fatties because it's flavorful ("he kills everyone who comes nearby!"), but deathtouch works as a trade tool: your 1/1 blocks a 4/4 and it's still a one-for-one. But if your 5/5 creature blocks a 4/4 creature (or smaller), he'll kill it anyway, deathtouch or not. The cases where your 5/5 deathtouch will go and trade with a bigger dude are very rare. Same in attack, where a little deathtouch guy may become an annoyance if blocking him means losing a larger creature; but you can't count too much on a board status where the opponent wanted to use, say, two 4/4s to block your 5/5, and deathtouch would cause for them to lose both in the process. So, in most cases a 5/5 with deathtouch reads essentially as a vanilla 5/5. This particular essentially-vanilla 5/5 comes with a secondary ability, though, although it's again very situational, barring dedicate combos (and the nontoken clause even prevents the use of degenerate token-making combos). The Harvester doesn't immediately impact the board, something you should be entitled to ask to a 6 CMC creature, and your Extractor Demon-like trick with the two Sharuum the Hegemon could find better companions, like, I don't know, Extractor Demon? All in all, his mirrored pair friend Soul of the Harvest (an improved Primordial Sage) has more applications and better stats.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Obviously, you might find useful to work some card drawing capability into your Demon deck.  But Bloodgift Demon still seems the correct choice here, since for 1 mana less he'll give you an evasive 5-swinging body as a bonus.
  • Rating: 5

 

34. 

  • Name: Hellcarver Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Rise of the Eldrazi
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: I always felt that they printed this card at Mythic Rare to represent the fact that one can be "mythic" in a negative way, too. Like, "the Mythic Loser". Which should be the tagline for Hellcarver Demon. It was clearly conceived as a Timmy/Johnny card, but something went wrong at some point in the design, because what this guy does, statistically, is making you lose the game. If you count the resources needed to get a 6 CMC creature on the board, and then try to average what you can find within 6 random draws (library manipulation aside), you'll probably end up with at least 2 lands, 2 cards without proper targets, and 2 other permanents or spells that aren't just enough to compensate of having lost everything else, including everything in your hand. Of course, Timmy will beg Johnny to find a way to make it work (this excellent post does a pretty exhaustive job at it, considering a Modern environment, which is probably the most fitting). And you occasionally might drop an Eldrazi or two with him, if the deck was crafted in the right way. But more often than not, your Hellcarver deck would just spectacularly bomb in a way or another.
  • Tribal Evaluation: A Demon deck might well provide the right kind of threats for the Hellcarver to find, while at the same type avoiding the "too many unplayable cards" problem of an Eldrazi deck; resolving the Hellcarver's ability might even cause two or three large Demons to show up. You still have to like his particular brand of crazy a lot to attempt this.
  • Rating: 1

 

35. 

  • Name: Kyoki, Sanity's Eclipse   >> summary
  • Set: Betrayers of Kamigawa
  • Additional Types: Legendary Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: It's a black Craw Wurm. If you play it in the right kind of tribal deck (that is, a Spirit deck), it'll become slightly more lethal than a Craw Wurm.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Of course, this makes sense only in a Spirit deck. In there, it might cause a considerable mayhem if dropped early and coupled with a lot of faster Spirits. You might essentially keep the opponent's hand empty from that point on. Yeah, still a Craw Wurm, though.
  • Commander Evaluation: Now, as a combo commander, he definitely has potential. He doesn't cause discard, which fights the oh so popular recursion effects most Commander decks pack full, and the targets for his ability are always aplenty at your average Commander table. Not to mention, a mono-black Spirit decks means good stuff like Will-o'-the-Wisp, Bloodghast, Divinity of Pride, and Kokusho (you don't have to play Razorjaw Oni!), plus Krovikan Horror, that combos nicely with Kyoki (see? Graveyard recursion!) I might want to try this myself at some point.
  • Rating: 6

 

36.  

  • Name: Malfegor   >> summary
  • Sets: Conflux, Commander
  • Additional Types: Legendary Dragon 
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: Let's face it, Malfegor is a dumb card. It occasionally delivers, or finds some worthy applications, but as far as mass removals go, you don't really have to force yourself to discard your entire hand to kill opponent stuff at CMC 6. And if you look for a discard outlet, you might find there's less drastic ones too.
  • Tribal Evaluation: It's part of the Multicolored Demons League. Not exactly the best part, but you can put up with him and enjoy his occasional success in clearing the opponent side of the board without costing you too many key cards. Dragons openly mock him to his face.
  • Commander Evaluation: I saw it played, and might be effective under the right conditions. Of course the "each opponent" clause is crucial in achieving this "effective" status. As is the fact that you can do it again and again once the board, and your hand, are refilled.
  • Rating: 5

 

37. 

  • Name: Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis   >> summary
  • Set: Magic 2013
  • Additional Type: Legendary  
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: Ok, Nefarox doesn't live up to Thraximundar's reputation. He doesn't have haste (therefore his fist impact on the board isn't as impressive); he doesn't grow bigger at each attack/caused sacrifice. On the bright side, he's evasive, can exalt his comrades in arms, and costs 1 converted mana and 2 colors less than Thraxi (despite being the "Overlord of Grixis"). This, in my opinion, makes him a solid, if not spectacular, Titan replacer. Grave Titan may be immediately threatening with his instant band of Zombies, but Nefarox starts repaying himself nicely the turn after. (I know, "the turn after" is never a good thing to say in competitive Magic.)
  • Tribal Evaluation: I'd put Nefarox at a top level of priority when choosing a generic good 6 CMC baddie for your Demon deck. His overall value is high enough, despite the Legendary status, that prevents duplicates. But that's not really an issue, since you didn't want to run it as 4-of anyway.
  • Commander Evaluation: Good stuff mono-black decks call for a good stuff mono-black commander, and Nefarox is just that.
  • Rating: 8

 

38. 

  • Name: Oni of Wild Places   >> summary
  • Sets: Saviors of Kamigawa, Commander
  • Additional Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 11
  • General Evaluation: There's a whole set of interactions to be milled out of a forced recursion of this kind, and red creatures with good ETB effects abound in any format (from Flametongue Kavu to Sparkmage Apprentice). Yet, spending 6 mana for such an effect might be a bit much, even while getting a nice 6-powered hasted beater in the process.
  • Tribal Evaluation: This oni is one of only two non-black Demons in existence. It sure doesn't give much credit to the category (especially since the other is that Shimatsu guy, the Haunter of the Deck, the Crawling Moron). But hey, at least he's easily splashable, and take good advantage of Rakdos' paincast mechanic. As a Spirit, he might recur stuff (including himself, thanks to haste) to activate "Spirits matter" kind of cards.
  • Rating: 5

 

39. 

  • Name: Rakdos the Defiler   >> summary
  • Set: Dissension
  • Additional Type: Legendary  
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 13
  • General Evaluation: The original Rakdos was meant to convey an idea of sheer power: a huge flying trampler who destroys stuff while he just moves. Too bad he destroys YOUR stuff too. And first. And doesn't level the field with the opponent until he actually connects, which might never happen, so you end up having committed 6 mana to take out half your permanents (rounded up!) and one of your opponent's removals. Good job, old Rakdos. Wonder why your guild was defeated. You get reborn well, though.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Of course, a Demon deck is the one place where Rakdos better thrives, since you might actually keep something more on the battlefield than usual. Still not a likely choice, except if you want to go multicolored for some reason.
  • Commander Evaluation: A Commander Demon tribal deck is hard to pull off. If you do, it probably wouldn't be with this Rakdos at the helm. He still causes insane board statuses, though.
  • Rating: 4

 

40. 

  • Name: Reaper from the Abyss   >> summary
  • Set: Innistrad
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: He flies, like Nefarox. He swings for 6, like Nefarox. He kills things, like Nefarox. Unlike Nefarox, his killing mechanic is less inevitable but might result being more flexible, and in the end more effective. Let's say you just dropped a Reaper. You say go, and your 6/6 blocker now can potentially eliminate two of the opponent's threats in a single shot. And he targets, which is something Nefarox can't do (on the other hand, Nefarox's ability is a Diabolic Edict effect, so it can kill hexproof or indestructible stuff too). The following turn, you use your targeted removal spell on that pesky new threat, and next thing you know, you kill another one too. Good tactical value, all in all.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Solid option for this point on the curve. You can't feel bad for using this guy on your Demon deck, especially since this way his ability will never backfire killing your own stuff and allowing your opponent a two-for-one.
  • Rating: 7

 

41. 

  • Name: Sire of Insanity   >> summary
  • Set: Dragon's Maze
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: All right, the "insanity" flavor is surely conveyed. But this guy is actually more lucid than you might think. You need the right deck, because hardcasting him on turn 6 or more, when your opponent might well have already played most of the good stuff in their hand, isn't great. But let's say you manage to have him on the battlefield sooner rather than later. Let's say Entomb/Exhume soon. You say go, you dump everything, your opponent dump everything. But your deck wanted to do that. The opponent's, not so much. From that point on, everything both players will draw has to be played right away. They can't treasure that Counterspell. They can't wait to build their mana base in order to play their finisher. They draw something they can't play, it's gone. It's a truly insane game status, indeed. But you can definitely play to its strengths.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Reanimator Demon builds might love him. On the other hand, they love Griselbrand more, based on the fact that it's not a Craw Wurm on the battlefield. Then again, Griselbrand doesn't hinder the opponent, and under the right conditions, even a Craw Wurm can be lethal.
  • Rating: 7

 

42. 

  • Name: Stronghold Overseer   >> summary
  • Set: Time Spiral
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: You deck doesn't care about tactical defense? You want to hit the 6 mana mark and drop something eminently evasive, then just turn it sideways and connect with some degree of certainty? Well, Mr. Stronghold Overseer here is a pumpable shadow creature (with flying, for good measure, although it'll be REALLY hard for him to actually have to use it). Connecting is the name of his game. He will find himself at the other end of all kinds of removals, of course. But if he sticks around, he makes for a pretty fast clock.
  • Tribal Evaluation: As a Demon, it's a nice choice, although deprived of any real tactical value. And given that he pumps all your other shadow creatures too, you might even want to consider it as a top finisher in Dauthi decks (the three black mana in his cost are a bit too much for Soltari decks).
  • Rating: 7

 

43. 

  • Name: Xathrid Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Magic 2010
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 14
  • General Evaluation: Improved Lord of the Pit, M10-style. You still have to sacrifice "or else" (with a somehow worse clause, since he even taps himself if you fail to satisfy his hunger), and you still don't have a built-in way out when things start going dire. But at least you get something out of the deal. You might actually win games out of the Xathrid's sacrifices. Say, by feeding him a Sundering Titan or two? It's never really going to happen, of course, but it might. You know, in your dreams.
  • Tribal Evaluation: And yet, by topping a series of Demons with this guy and proceeding to sacrifice them all, one by one, while at the same time attacking for 7 flying/trampling damage, you will be able to... wake up, eventually.
  • Rating: 5

 

44.  

  • Name: Yawgmoth Demon   >> summary
  • Sets: Antiquities, Ninth Edition
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: The first take on the original Lord of the Pit (there will be a bunch of others, until they finally learned that this kind of creature, as much evocative as it is, is almost entirely worthless even to Timmys). He's cheaper, he has worse stats (and a more annoying yet less punishing failing clause), and in keeping with the Antiquities flavor, his diet consists of artifacts. Sure, in modern Magic it's easier to have a bunch of artifacts you'll be happy to send to the graveyard (the Wellsprings, for one). But it's also easier to find some better way to accomplish that.
  • Tribal Evaluation: There's no artifact Demons. And even if they were, the chances of this guy making the cut would be pretty much the same.
  • Rating:  3


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45.  

  • Name: Abhorrent Overlord    >> summary
  • Set: Theros
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: Using devotion to black, which is particularly flavorful for a Demon, to create a Harpy following for this proud Overlord is seriously cute. But considering we're paying 7 for a 6/6 that immediately begins killing its own tokens, well, I guess we didn't make the leap from flavorful to mechanically effective in the end. Especially considering that, barring some earlier Phyrexian Obliterator, it's not that we'll get tons and tons of Harpies.
  • Tribal Evaluation: We'll get even fewer Harpies in a Demon tribal deck, unfortunately. Too many better options at this mana level (and below) to seriously consider our Greek Demon anything more than a mild curiosity.
  • Rating: 6

 

46.  

  • Name: Archdemon of Unx   >> summary
  • Set: Shards of Alara
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: The latest attempt at finding a meaningful way to tackle the Lord of the Pit concept. The mechanic here is pretty neat: the Archdemon kills creatures, turns them into Zombies (I'd think my zombified Worldspine Wurm would be a bit bigger than a 2/2, but ok). And if you fail to have non-Zombie fodder for him to feed upon, nothing bad really happens. Or better, something does: in an absurdist turn of events, the Archdemon kills himself (and you get one last Zombie as a consolation). Question: is all this worth 7 mana? Answer: no way. Question: You sure? Even if you happen to have a bunch of Perilous Myrs or Viridian Emissaries to exploit? Answer: yep. Not that meaningful a way, in the end.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Why you should want to kill your other Demons and turn them all into 2/2 vanilla dudes really beats me.
  • Rating: 3

 

47.  

  • Name: Eater of Hope   >> summary
  • Set: Born of the Gods
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: Look, this thing  is not insulting. He does his job of heavy-hitting flyer with abilities. His toughness is sub-par, due to the idea that he regenerates. Too bad you need a sacrifice per regeneration. And TWO sacrifices for killing something? Not to mention, copious mana activations? All right, he's not outright insulting, but he sure is awkward.
  • Tribal Evaluation: .
  • Rating: 5

 

48. 

  • Name: Havoc Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Legions
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: There's some value in having a creature that, by dying, sweeps the board (there's always great value in having different ways to sweep the board). After all, things like False Prophet and Child of Alara are top-notch. Havoc Demon presents two issues, though: first, he costs a bit too much to be effective (barring reanimation), while the threat he provides is just barely decent for his money; second, he does an imperfect job at sweeping, despite nicely playing around regeneration and indestructibility. Although the latter might prove to be an asset in the right deck, maybe?
  • Tribal Evaluation: Well, yeah, in a Demon deck is fairly probable that the Havoc Demon's sweeping routine will leave a lot of survivors on your side. And he plays wonderfully if paired with Demonlord of Ashmouth, so there's that.
  • Rating: 6

 

49. 

  • Name: Hollowborn Barghest   >> summary
  • Set: Shadowmoor
  • Additional Type: Hound
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 13
  • General Evaluation: A big demonic hound that (for some reason) looks like a giant rat, and loves to punish your enemies if either you or them (or both) are out of fuel. It's an improved The Rack on a stick, except the stick costs 7 mana, which is in a nutshell the problem with most of the Cocytus Demons: they maybe do cute things, but when you have to hit 7 mana for that, cute isn't enough. The Barghest body is impressive, though, if awfully vanilla.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Demon decks might well take the discard route, if only as a support of the main battle plan. Hounds, on the other hand, hardly do, as hardly even take the 7-mana black creatures route.
  • Rating: 4

 

50. 

  • Name: Lady Orca   >> summary
  • Set: Legends
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 11
  • General Evaluation: Revisiting the creatures from the Legends set is deeply embarrassing. I don't even know what to say about Lady Orca. They somehow thought that adding +1/+0 to a Craw Wurm (already a subpar card) justified a greater casting cost, two different colors, and the legendary rule. More so, they seemed to think that being golden and legendary was an added value someway, rather than a hindrance (despite nothing in the set had any real mechanical link with multicolored or legendary creatures). It's appalling, but that's Griselbrand what it is. We can just stare at this with the same morbid fascination we feel for car crashes.
  • Tribal Evaluation: And she also has a stupid name and bad art. There, I said it.
  • Commander Evaluation: ...
  • Rating: 0

 

51.   

  • Name: Lord of the Pit   >> summary
  • Sets: Alpha to Fifth Edition, Tenth Edition, Duel Decks: Divine vs. Demonic
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 14
  • General Evaluation: Enter the main man: good old Lord of the Pit himself. The emphasis is more on "old" than on "good" here. It's not that the first Demon ever printed didn't age well. It's that he was never a thing. It's a creature that comes very late in the curve, and once you managed to have it on the battlefield, it keeps asking you to spend more resources or will hurt you badly. It's the kind of card that tells a whole story: you made a dark pact to summon a big, bad Demon, but you have to keep providing him with fresh victims or he'll turn against you. In the following years, they would learn how to marry flavor and playability better. In the meantime, they kept reprinting the iconic Lord (while trying to update him multiple times). The different pieces of art that have appeared on his cards over the course of the years have always been great, though.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Nostalgia factor aside, a Demon deck is possibly the worst place to relive the (never existed) grandeur of the Lord, given that sacrificing other big, expensive guys to him isn't really helping in making the whole Pit experience any better. Maybe you can devote all the supporting slots to token generation and build a deck entirely filled with sacrifice-asking Demons: the Pit of the Lords.
  • Rating: n/a (you can't judge a true legend)

 

52. 

  • Name: Lord of the Void   >> summary
  • Set: Gatecrash
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 14
  • General Evaluation: The First Rule of Fatties says: have your mana-intensive fattie be hard to kill. The Second Rule says: should the First Rule fails, have it at least impact the board immediately and permanently. Lord of the Void doesn't fulfil either of those rules. Still, he's a 7/7 flyer for 7, and if he lives to deal damage to the opponent, he'll start obliterating their library and (potentially) strengthening your board position (short of finding just some Birds of Paradise, or possibly nothing at all.) Casual? Sure. Actually more useful just as an evasive beater than anything else? Very likely. But you can do worse with Demons. At least, he's not threatening to make you lose the game!
  • Tribal Evaluation: He's far from being indispensable in a Demon deck, even in one that would easily ramp into 7-mana threats. But he's fun.
  • Rating: 7

 

53. 

  • Name: Minion of Leshrac   >> summary
  • Set: Ice Age
  • Additional Type: Minion
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: Of all the sets from ancient, pre-Mirage times, when Magic sets were mostly standing on their own, Ice Age is arguably the one with a better grasp on creature mechanics. Of course, as far as Demons went, Ice Age had to have its own Lord of the Pit variant. But with Minion of Leshrac (and to a lesser extent, his brother Minion of Tevesh Szat), they seemed to finally understand that if you have to put up with such a demanding upkeep cost, you better be given some serious advantage in exchange, rather than just a chance to damage the opponent, albeit evasively. For instance, what about repeatable card advantage? (Well, "card parity" maybe, since you end up killing stuff on both sides.) I have to say, just tapping to destroy a creature or a land is still a powerful effect nowadays; plus, protection from black on a black creature isn't that common, and on a 5/5 body makes for an interesting package. Of course, he's still barely playable, but not by a long shot. And if you decide to try and build around this guy with some token generators or something, at least he'll make his presence of the board felt.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Everything that asks for upkeep sacrifices is a pain in the butt in Demon decks, since at the very least forces them to work some Bitterblossom into the decklist. In virtue of his name, Mark Gottlieb decided this had to be a Minion too (which is a bit bizarre, since it was clearly just an epithet). And Minion decks have little guys with ETB effects like Bone Shredder, and even creatures that do amazing things if killed, like Body Snatcher.
  • Rating: 5

 

54. 

  • Name: Minion of Tevesh Szat   >> summary
  • Set: Ice Age
  • Additional Type: Minion
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 8
  • General Evaluation: He's to all extent and purposes the lesser brother of Minion of Leshrac: a smaller body with no keyword ability; a lesser upkeep cost with lighter penalty if you fail to pay it; and a reduced killing power (although the possibility to use the targeted ability as a power boost in attack is nice). All fine, but then it makes you wonder why in the hell he's still a 7 CMC creature (at the same rarity level). The mysteries of ancient development.
  • Tribal Evaluation: If you're after that indefinite Ice Age feel (which in these cases also means hideous art), both for your Demon or your Minion decks, you should just go with the vastly superior Minion of Leshrac. Use both only if you're a Melvin or a Vorthos.
  • Rating: 4

 

55. 

  • Name: Mold Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Legends
  • Additional Type: Fungus
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: Mold Demon isn't online. That means the MTGO experience lacks the chance to sacrifice two Swamps in order to get a 6/6 vanilla for 7. Tragedy.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Ever heard of a guy named Grinning Demon? Ever wondered why he's grinning? It's because of this card. Oh, and it's a Fungus too, right. There has to be a whole crowd of grinning fungi somewhere.
  • Rating: 0

 

56. 

  • Name: Pit Spawn   >> summary
  • Sets Exodus
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: I'm so glad they stopped with that whole upkeep cost nonsense at some point. Pit Spawn is a good fighter, no questions there. But he's not a good threat, and he doesn't do anything else, and he costs 7 mana plus 2 black per turn. No wonder he's not played much.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Nothing really bad comes from playing this guy in your Demon deck. But nothing really good comes, too. So, why bother? That's Magic deckbuilding at its most ruthless, simple as that.
  • Rating: 4

 

57. 

  • Name: Rune-Scarred Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Magic 2012
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: A 7-mana Demon who doesn't try to get cute with a weird unbalanced body or alternative combat keywords, and instead sticks to the proven strength of a 6/6 flyer, and gives you a Demonic Tutor in the process? Now we're talking! That's an actual, honest-to-God Demonic Tutor, guys. It's the real deal, not some make-do. And you can recur it! Pretty much every format Rune-Scarred Demon is playable in has some ways to abuse his ETB effect. And that's definitely something you want to make the extra effort to abuse.
  • Tribal Evaluation: If your Demon deck ramps at all, chances are it'll ramp into this guy.
  • Rating: 9

 

58. 

  • Name: Silent-Blade Oni   >> summary
  • Set: Planechase 2012
  • Additional Type: Ninja
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 11
  • General Evaluation: Being a Ninja (a Ninja!), this rekindled Kamigawa Demon will be played for 7 just in case of an emergency. Otherwise, he will work his ninjutsu trickery for 6 mana, which is still a lot, but you get a 6/5 and a free spell from the opponent's hand (therefore, some disruption to add insult to injury too). It's a bit of a situational thing, especially since you won't hit those 6 mana too fast, so the choices will be limited, but it's still potentially very punishing. Once ninjutsu wears off, though, the vanilla nature of the Oni doesn't help stealing more opponent stuff, unless you find a way to bounce him back to your hand, to rinse and repeat (losing quite a bit of surprise factor the second time around, I'm afraid). It's not the smoothest card in the world, and might result in almost nothing in 1-versus-1 (it was designed for a multiplayer environment, after all), but it's still mostly cool.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Not the worst multicolored Demon. Or to be more correct, one of the best. Neo-Rakdos might help to cast it sooner rather than later. As a Ninja, he might be a bit of a heavy weight, but still worth including as a 1-of, top-of-the-curve thing riding on the faster ones.
  • Rating:

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59. 

  • Name: Griselbrand   >> summary
  • Set: Avacyn Restored
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 14
  • General Evaluation: It's very rare for a new card to go and impact each and every eternal format at once, including Vintage and Legacy. Griselbrand did it (we can see why Avacyn wanted to get rid of him no matter what, eh?) This happened because the exact moment Griselbrand first made his appearance, every reanimator deck in the game immediately pointed its tools at him, like a rabid hunting dog on acid (of course that's true of black ramp decks, too, but they're less common). See, once you put Gris-Gris on the battlefield, you automatically get 7 cards. If you feel very confident, you can even get 14 cards, among which there will be more reanimator tools, and likely another Tribal Evaluation: Griselbrand (or whatever else you have put in there) to be discarded at end of turn to reanimate next. The accumulated advantage at this point is very hard to recover. Mechanically, Griselbrand should also give your life back by connecting. And this sometime will even happen. Because he's just unbelievably, indescribably powerful that way.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Not all Demon decks are properly equipped to handle Griselbrand in the right way. All Demon decks probably should.
  • Commander Evaluation: It's banned, baby. It's banned.
  • Rating: 10

 

60. 

  • Name: Infernal Denizen   >> summary
  • Set: Ice Age
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: The gothic novel in the text basically says that this is a repeatable Rubinia Soulsinger. But to get there, you have to sacrifice two Swamps per turn, or else Infernal Denizen will do everything in his power to make you lose the game. I'd rather suggest not to play this in any possible case. Too bad, because it has (subpar) Drew Tucker art, and Drew Tucker is (usually) great. Anyway, the Denizen is not even online yet, so you don't risk ending on the right side of him. Which is with him on your side.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Remember when I said, "Do not play this"? I meant in Demon decks, too.
  • Rating: 1

 

61. 

  • Name: Liege of the Pit   >> summary
  • Set: Time Spiral
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 14
  • General Evaluation: Oh, look, a Lord of the Pit variant! In Liege of the Pit's defense, that was Time Spiral, so something like that was expected, or even due. It's basically a functional reprint of his predecessor, with the addition of morph, which means you can have it on the battlefield (in a heavily black deck) as early as turn 4. That makes it somehow of a decent card, if paired with a reliable token generator a la Bitterblossom. After all, a 7/7 flying trampler makes for a pretty worrying clock.
  • Tribal Evaluation: If you want to play a straightforward Lord of the Pit, you should probably play this. Then again, if you want to play a straightforward Lord of the Pit, you probably are just after the nostalgic flavor of the original one. Poor Liege of the Pit can't catch a break.
  • Rating: 6

 

62. 

  • Name: Pestilence Demon   >> summary
  • Set: Rise of the Eldrazi
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 13
  • General Evaluation: We're in Judecca, which means we're dealing with the highest-costing Demons. When you spend that much for a creature, even in contemporary Magic, what you get should be really impressive. So, let's see: an evasive body that makes for an overwhelming clock? 7/6 flyer, check. An ability that affects the board and has the potential to severely hinder the opponent's battle plan? Repeatable Pestilence, check. So, Pestilence Demon is actually sweet, under the right conditions he's even able to make you win the game without attacking. It remains the issue of the high casting cost, and the fact that you might still find better targets for your reanimation effects, even just by looking at other Demons (*cough*Griselbrand*cough). But you know what? I'd give Pestilence Demon a try. His ability is powerful and only needs one chance to activate it to be worth the effort (and if you just reanimated it, it might be an immediate and nearly unopposable affair). And if he sticks, his clock is as fast as it gets.
  • Tribal Evaluation: As a 1-of, he makes for a good alternate reanimation target after Griselbrand, or something to tutor up with Rune-Scarred Demon.
  • Rating: 8

 

63. 

  • Name: Prince of Thralls   >> summary
  • Set: Shards of Alara
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 14
  • General Evaluation: Prince of Thralls has the kind of ability that reads as very powerful, but if you let it sink for a few seconds you actually realize that it's a win-more scenario at best, and extremely wishful thinking at worst. First of all, in order to get the process started, you either had to pay the gigantic, three-colored cost of the Prince, or commit resources to reanimate him or cheat him into play (using his loyal minion Demon's Herald doesn't seem a serious option), ending up with a 7/7 vanilla body that while not negligible, still doesn't do that much. At that point, the Prince doesn't actually cause anything to happen: essentially, any time you'll manage to kill stuff, the opponent will lose 3 life. Of course, attacking with a 7/7 is possibly going to trigger the whole thing, but you might also just end up with a collection of Birds of Paradise (and fetchlands!) before anything of any consequence will happen. Furthermore, a deck built around him is just a control deck with lots of spot removals, so you have to assess if there aren't just better finishers for that cost.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Prince of Thralls is the most expensive of the 9 multicolored Demons (which include Lady Orca, so let's say 8). As such, and given his somewhat underwhelming nature, he doesn't feel like a must even there.
  • Rating: 6

 

64. 

  • Name: Reiver Demon   >> summary
  • Sets: Mirrodin, Duel Decks: Divine vs. Demonic, Commander
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 12
  • General Evaluation: Reiver Demon does to the battlefield what a 8 CMC creature should do: he wreaks it entirely. The hardcast-only clause makes him pretty straightforward: no reanimation, no cheat-into-play shenanigans; you ramp into him, you sweep what has all the characteristics to be the other side of the battlefield only. Of course, it won't always be the case, but there's still a pretty good chance, and at least you'll be sure to spare him and every artifact you used for your ramp effort (plus, say, every Wurmcoil Engine or such). It's the old The Abyss flavor revisited in typical Mirrodin fashion. At the end of the day, you'll have a 6/6 flyer in any case, and that might be good enough. In slow formats like Commander is clearly a staple.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Here's a reason more not to play nonblack Demons.
  • Rating: 8

 

65. 

  • Name: Tombstalker   >> summary
  • Sets: Future Sight, Modern Masters
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 10
  • General Evaluation: It goes without saying that Tombstalker never costs 8 mana. Even in a non-dedicated deck, it should be easy enough to reduce his cost by half pretty fast. A 5/5 flyer that potentially comes for 2 mana (if not in turn 2, barring some heavy dredge/self-mill engine) is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, it makes Tombstalker a pretty powerful and popular creature, especially in Suicide Black kinds of decks.
  • Tribal Evaluation: Not assuring an early presence, Tombstalker doesn't actually help the flow of a Demon deck too much. Can still be seen as a possible option, though, given his ability to be dropped in later turns leaving open mana to react.
  • Rating: 8

 

66. 

  • Name: Demon of Death's Gate   >> summary
  • Set: Magic 2011
  • Converted Mana Cost: 9
  • Body: 18
  • General Evaluation: Similarly to Tombstalker, Demon of Death's Gate is not designed to be paid his written cost of 9 (despite his stats being impressive enough: he's actually the Demon card with the largest body in the game, tied with Kuro, but with way more oomph than him). Finding three black creatures worth sacrificing isn't a very hard task, and the ways to accomplish this are many, with several different combos involved (just to mention one: Buried Alive into a triplet of Bloodghast, drop fetchland, cast Death's Gate, break fetchland). The impact of Demon of Death's Gate is limited to just being a fast clock, with no protection of any guarantee of sticking around. Plus, you just paid 6 life to have it on the board. All things considered, though, if you play it well, you'll put the opponent in the situation of having to deal with his threat or quickly succumb, and that's never a bad thing to do.
  • Tribal Evaluation: It's not as easy to sacrifice three creatures in a Demon deck than it is when you don't have restrictions (or within other tribes, which make him a good off-tribe finisher elsewhere), but with a combination of faster Demons and some token generators like the often-mentionedBitterblossom, you might be able to pull it off neatly enough. It's a strategy your deck has to commit to, but you can do worse than that with Demons.
  • Rating: 7

 

67. 

  • Name: Kuro, Pitlord   >> summary
  • Sets: Champions of Kamigawa, Duel Decks: Divine vs. Demonic
  • Additional Types: Legendary Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 9
  • Body: 18
  • General Evaluation: Kuro comes with one of those awful mana upkeep costs designers so much liked to give Demons (and not a cheap one at that), and as far as combat is concerned he's just a vanilla beater, if a big one. But his unique way to clear the board is intriguing. Giving -1/-1 around ignores most defensive abilities like regeneration and indestructibility, and it's an instant-speed, entirely free effect. Well, except for the life you have to pay, but that might be strategically managed for the best. In fact, you might want to reanimate Kuro briefly only to do some targeted killing, not caring (or not even being able) to pay the upkeep cost at all the next turn.
  • Tribal Evaluation: He has a similar role to Pestilence Demon: both make you lose life in exchange of removal. Kuro is more surgical at that; Pestilence, on the other hand, hits the opponent too, and he's an overall better and more tactical creature on the board, not requiring an upkeep cost. This puts Pestilence Demon on a higher level of playability, but Kuro might be the better choice for Recurring Nightmare decks (both with Demons or, even better, Spirits), where you would just call on him whenever he's needed, then exchange him back with something else, without having to invest additional mana to activate his effect.
  • Commander Evaluation: He's a bit expensive, but he's sure able to exploit the 40 life of a Commander game.
  • Rating: 7

 

68. 

  • Name: Spirit of the Night   >> summary
  • Set: Mirage
  • Additional Types: Legendary Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 9
  • Body: 11
  • General Evaluation: There was a time when Spirit of the Night was the best creature in the game. When Brian Selden won the World Championship back in 1998 with the legendary Recurring/Survival deck, he had Spirit of the Night as the main finisher. Until the strictly better Akroma, Angel of Wrath was printed 6 years later, there was nothing as good at combat and as explosive as the Spirit. Now he's been mostly made obsolete by other similar creatures (Akroma, Angel of Fury and Sphinx of the Steel Wind are all granddaughters of him), and with his 9 mana feels overcosted, but he's still good enough. Give him a chance (within some reanimation or cheat-into-play scheme, of course) and you'll see him shine once again. Plus, Cliff Nielsen's art is possibly one of the greatest artistic accomplishments in Magic history.
  • Tribal Evaluation: If you have reanimation or cheat-into-play schemes in your Demon or Spirit deck, add a copy of Spirit of the Night. You'll make him happy (you won't know that by looking at him, but I can assure you he'll be). And of course, if you're running a Nightstalker build, you are pretty much forced to do that, given that summoning him on the battlefield is essentially everything Breathstealer, Feral Shadow, and Urborg Panther ever do.
  • Commander Evaluation: Use Spirit of the Night as your mono-black commander. You won't get any strategic value out of it, and your commander will take ages to come, but you'll be the coolest guy at the table.
  • Rating: 8

 

69. 

  • Name: Dread Cacodemon   >> summary
  • Set: Commander
  • Converted Mana Cost: 10
  • Body: 16
  • General Evaluation: Since I'm consistent with myself, I'll repeat here what I said about this guy in the Colossopedia: "The ETB effect is certainly powerful, as you get a one-side sweeper. But there's the annoying clause of having to hardcast it for the destruction to take place, and this means no cheating into play (it'll be just a 8/8 vanilla if you try and reanimate it), and 10 full mana needed, which is a bit too much. Especially considering that for mysterious balancing reasons (I've just paid T-E-N mana, dude!), they don't want for you to be able to attack into your opponent's just cleared field, since your other creatures will be tapped by the Cacodemon, and it doesn't even have haste. All in all, why you should put this one in your deck when you can pay 1 mana less for Plague Wind and potentially win in the same turn? It might still be decent in Commander, for redundancy purposes."
  • Tribal Evaluation: Even with the help of Cabal Coffers, Demon decks have better ways to mess with the creatures on the board (Carnifex Demon, Pestilence Demon, Reiver Demon).
  • Rating: 5

SPECIAL: WITHENGAR

 

  • Name: Withengar Unbound   >> summary
  • Set: Dark Ascension
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7 (after transformation: 0)
  • Body: 26
  • General Evaluation: Demon of Death's Gate and Kuro, Pitlord (along with the transformed form of Ravenous Demon) might have the biggest body ever printed on a Demon card, but they're not the biggest Demons in the game. Withengar is. Withengar is huge, and super-accessorized (and takes particular pleasure in seeing people die in multiplayer, even humbling Blood Tyrant at that). Only problem: Withengar has been trapped into a sword. A very puny sword, given that it only grants +1/+0 to whom brandishes it. And yet it costs 7 mana. Well, it possibly costs that much because you're also buying the chance to awake Withengar, by damaging the opponent with the sword. The process isn't the easiest, and feels terribly casual, but it's not even that hard to pull off: once you found a way to ramp into 7 colorless mana, which admittedly isn't rocket science, you just need some cheap evasive carrier. Like a Birds of Paradise, for instance. Equipping the sword just costs 1 mana, and after you connect, Withengar comes. The main issue is possibly that all of this doesn't clearly call for a specific type of deck, isn't linked to any tribal build (the transformed Demon doesn't count for tribal purposes), and it's just something you might add to your ramp deck for the kicks of seeing the biggest, scariest of all Demons in action.
  • Rating: 6

 

BONUS: THE UN-SET DEMONS

  

So, uhm, Ron Spencer's idea of a humorous Demon Beast is just a giant rat?


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 Demonic History (first appearances only)

  • Core sets: 7 (Alpha: 2, M10: 1, M11: 1, M12: 1, M13: 1, M14: 1)
  • Starter sets: 0
  • Special sets: 2 (Commander: 1, Planechase 2012: 1)
  • Ancient sets: 5 (Antiquities: 1, Legends: 4)
  • Ice Age block: 3 (Ice Age: 3)
  • Mirage block: 1 (Mirage: 1)
  • Tempest block: 1 (Exodus: 1)
  • Urza block: 0
  • Masques block: 0
  • Invasion block: 0
  • Odyssey block: 0
  • Onslaught block: 2 (Onslaught: 1, Legions: 1)
  • Mirrodin block: 1 (Mirrodin: 1)
  • Kamigawa block: 11 (Champions: 5, Betrayers: 3, Saviors: 3)
  • Ravnica block: 2 (Ravnica: 1, Dissension: 1)
  • Time Spiral block: 3 (Time Spiral: 2, Future Sight: 1)
  • Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block: 1 (Shadowmoor: 1)
  • Alara block: 6 (Shards of Alara: 2, Conflux: 2, Alara Reborn: 2)
  • Zendikar block: 5 (Zendikar: 2, Worldwake: 1, Rise of the Eldrazi: 2)
  • Scars of Mirrodin block: 1 (Scars of Mirrodin: 1)
  • Innistrad block: 10 (Innistrad: 2, Dark Ascension: 1, Avacyn Restored: 7)
  • Return to Ravnica block: 5 (Return to Ravnica: 2, Gatecrash: 1, Dragon's Maze: 2)
  • Theros block: 3 (Theros: 1, Born of the Gods: 2)

 Conclusions: Demons were banished (no pun intended?) for a long time in Magic, possibly out of fear of being accused of "Satanism", or similar PTA nonsense. As a result, four consecutive blocks, from Urza to Odyssey, featured no Demons at all. In the entire pre-Modern era (before Mirrodin and 8th Edition), only 14 Demons even existed. The great relaunch of the Demon subtype happened with Kamigawa, thanks to the Oni concept being able to better distance itself from any Western religious idea. After that, Demons, including the outright Dantesque ones, were able to come back. However, Kamigawa still remains the most "demonic" block to date.

 Demonic Colors

  • White: 0
  • Blue: 4 (of which 2 Dimir, 2 Grixis)
  • Black: 67 (of which 56 mono, 7 Rakdos, 2 Dimir, 2 Grixis)
  • Red: 11 (of which 2 mono, 7 Rakdos, 2 Grixis)
  • Green: 0
  • Colorless: 0

 Conclusions: Unlike Angels, Demons predictably don't encompass every color, and are mostly (81%) mono-black, with only 2 of them, the mono-red ones, not featuring black at all.

 Demonic Additional Types

  • Legendary: 15
  • Spirit: 12
  • Minion: 2
  • Dragon: 1
  • Enchantment: 1
  • Fungus: 1
  • Hound: 1
  • Illusion: 1
  • Ninja: 1

 Conclusions: Demons don't share a lot of other types, except for Spirit (due to the Kamigawa's Oni being positioned halfway through the two concepts). They have a higher presence of the legendary type than Angels or most other tribe: almost one quarter of all the Demons is legendary.

 Demonic Keywords (or so)

  • Flying: 36
  • Trample: 11
  • First strike: 4
  • Deathtouch: 3
  • Fear/Intimidate: 2
  • Haste: 2
  • Morph: 2
  • Protection from black: 2
  • Undying: 2
  • Bestow: 1
  • Delve: 1
  • Exalted: 1
  • Firebreathing: 1
  • Lifelink: 1
  • Ninjutsu: 1
  • Regeneration: 1
  • Shadow: 1
  • Swampwalk: 1
  • Unearth: 1

 Conclusions: Half the Demons are capable of flying. They don't have many more recurring keyworded abilities, except for trample on the bigger ones. Noteworthy is the fact that 24 of them require some sort of upkeep cost, 13 of which ask for a sacrifice.

 The Demonic Dream Team: Mono-black

 The Demonic Dream Team: Multicolored

 Latest Additions


DEMONPEDIA SUMMARY

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28 Comments

I love the work you put into by AJ_Impy at Tue, 10/16/2012 - 15:36
AJ_Impy's picture
5

I love the work you put into these, bravo! One of my favourite tribes, and whilst I disagree with your assessments in places (All of the cheap but big demons are minigames: Yukora is essentially a drawbackless one if you treat him like Demonic Taskmaster, and enables some fun shenanigans if you can donate him in response to removal.)

Yeah, you're right, I feel by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 10/16/2012 - 18:06
Kumagoro42's picture

Yeah, you're right, I feel like I especially gave Yukora the short shrift, all things considered. Demons in average are more consistent than Angels, where you can find a lot of very crappy ones. And they hardly ever printed Demons as filler (possibly just Renegade Demon), even the unplayable ones were conceived to be big threats, in theory.

What should I do next in the series? I need a tribe with a good number of members but not an overwhelming ones, so possibly in the range between 50 and 150. And with some variance, and perhaps a definite pop-culture feel. I was thinking Vampire or Zombie, but they would be mostly black again, so not good for the next installment (beside the fact that I'll do planeswalkers next, but that's a different thing). Dragons, maybe? I'd like to cover the five colors with a strongly representative tribe.

Also, I'm going to update these articles each time new members are printed. So expect soon a reworked Angelpedia with the new big bad, Angel of Serenity.

Elves often see the short end by Paul Leicht at Tue, 10/16/2012 - 22:03
Paul Leicht's picture

Elves often see the short end of the stick from me and AJ because they are so "Easy" but it could be nice to see a treatise on how to play them for the advanced player (no combo elves, or aggro elves but stuff like Deranged Hermit and Coiled Oracle for example.)

I also recommend doing one for perhaps Goblins too (combo and aggro aside).

Birds have a huge amount (the largest in the animal kingdom?) And have some very interesting tribal helpers too.

Giants are probably too easy so Id skip them except that there are some interesting sleepers. Dragons are generally well known and accepted as one of the more powerful tribes out there BUT they could be a good one to examine more closely.

Vampires are Blue/Red + Black. But Zombies are in all 5 colors. Both though are probably too easy. Maybe more generally you could cover the undead and go through each class of undead (Wraith, Vampire, Ghoul, Zombie, Skeleton, etal)

Yeah, after I wrote my by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 10/17/2012 - 10:39
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Yeah, after I wrote my previous comment, it stroke me that Goblins (and therefore Elves) might be interesting, to show what else is there besides the 9-10 everyone uses. Still, they're approaching 250 members, that's a big body of work.

Reading the other comments (and thanks to everyone for your kind words!), I think Dragon is going to be next. They kinda do the same thing over and over again, but I think there will be a good share of stinkers to mock, and that might be fun. And Sphinx+Wurm might well close the first round.

Bird is really interesting. The Undead group was something I thought of, but I would have to find the right structure.

Wurm would seem to be a good by Psychobabble at Tue, 10/16/2012 - 18:34
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Wurm would seem to be a good candidate for an archetypical green tribe with about the right population. Blue seems tougher, the archetypal "big blue" creatures - leviathan, sphinx, djinn - don't really have big tribes, though I guess sphinx could work. Drake is probably closer to the right population level but seems a little boring maybe?

Great read! by Wikki at Tue, 10/16/2012 - 20:58
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Great read!

Very fun and interesting by Drbenwayy at Tue, 10/16/2012 - 23:26
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Very fun and interesting article!

If you're looking for by blandestk at Tue, 10/16/2012 - 23:42
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If you're looking for pop-culture feel, dragons would definitely be a good candidate.

I concur on Dragons: Together by AJ_Impy at Wed, 10/17/2012 - 05:35
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I concur on Dragons: Together with Angels and Demons they make the triad of the big iconic creature types. Maybe round out the series with Wurm and Sphinx to hit on all five, perhaps touching on the problems of each slot (Green had wurms as too common for iconic status, blue couldn't decide on a big iconic until the first Ravnica)

Dragons won the poll, then. by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 10/17/2012 - 10:42
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Dragons won the poll, then. And so does the "five fattie for five colors" cycle you suggest and I sort of had already in mind.

Thanks again to all for appreciating my anal-retentiveness at work!

A note on Rakdos by BlippyTheSlug at Wed, 10/17/2012 - 15:35
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The card text on Rakdos, Lord of Riots is tricky. "This turn" refers to *ONLY* the turn on which he's cast. So if your opponent lost 2 life on the turn you cast Rakdos (this turn), future creature spells will cost 2 less.

Surely that's not right. by Psychobabble at Wed, 10/17/2012 - 18:27
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Surely that's not right. There's no link between the two parts of the card (the enter the battlefield and the cost reduction clauses). "this turn" would read like all other "this turns" in the game as applying to the turn when you are referring to that text. It would work on the turn that he comes in to play by looking at the life lost on that turn, but it would work on subsequent turns by looking at the life lost on the new turn. Nothing in mtg requires you to have memory like this, that would be an extraordinarily weird way of playing the card.

You are (or seem to me) by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 10/17/2012 - 18:44
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You are (or seem to me) absolutely right. To work like Blippy said, the card would say something like "Put a number of paincast counters on Rakdos equal to the life an opponent lost the turn you cast it. Creature spells you cast cost 1 less to cast for each paincast counter."

If it currently works on MTGO the way Blippy said (and it might), it's a bug.

I'm only going by what MTGO by BlippyTheSlug at Thu, 10/18/2012 - 02:49
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I'm only going by what MTGO told me after hit opponent's face for 6, then tried to cast a Wurmcoil, and had to pay 4. I was expecting to pay 0. I had the mana anyway, and would have hardcast it had Rakdos been removed.

After that happened, I read the card again, and it made sense only if "this turn" referred to the casting turn. Which, grammatically, it can.

But not by text rules by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:43
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But not by text rules wording.
I suspected you were speaking from personal experience. It's a bug, needs to be reported and fixed.

And now (Oct 30 announcement) by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 11/03/2012 - 09:04
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And now (Oct 30 announcement) it has been fixed:

Fixed: Rakdos, Lord of Riots's casting restriction now correctly checks to see if opponents of the caster have taken damage this turn.

Fixed: Rakdos, Lord of Riots's ability to reduce the cost of creature spells you cast now correctly checks for life loss of opponents of his current controller.

Excellent article! I by Leviathan at Thu, 10/18/2012 - 02:17
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Excellent article! I actually tried making a Commander deck around Shimatsu and it was an awful mess. I tried using tokens for him to eat, but no evasion and/or protection meant that he had a huge target on his head whenever he came into play (and wiped out your resources). I moved on to Marton Stromgald, and enjoyed myself a lot more.

I know people have suggested dragons, which are great, but another creature type you can look at is Avatar. There's a decent amount of them, and with no real creature type cohesion you have a ton of variety. Just an idea.

Thank you!I could bet you by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:57
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Thank you!

I could bet you were the one to try Shimatsu at some point. But if he fails even the Leviathan Test, he's really the most useless Demon ever (well, Lady Orca aside, but she at least doesn't do anything harmful; she just doesn't do anything). After all, he's essentially the Wood Elemental of Demons: you are asked to put ton of resources into nothing, which never looks like a good strategy.

I'm interested in your experience here: did you ever try Kyoki or Kuro? Or were you ever at a table that included Seizan?

Seizan is a commander staple by Paul Leicht at Thu, 10/18/2012 - 15:46
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Seizan is a commander staple imho. It goes in certain kinds of decks and is quite effective. I think AJ, Levi and myself had a game where AJ played him in his monoblack deck. And I remember a game where Levi had him out.

Sure, but I'm talking about by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 10/18/2012 - 16:11
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Sure, but I'm talking about using him as a commander, not as one of the other 99 cards.

(That's probably something I should put with the other initial disclaimers: every Commander Evaluation uses the same premise: the card as a commander of a Commander deck; in the General Evaluations, instead, I talk about using the cards in all the constructed formats where they are legal, including, occasionally, Commander).

I haven't tried Kyoki, Kuro by Leviathan at Thu, 10/18/2012 - 19:47
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I haven't tried Kyoki, Kuro or Seizan as Commanders. However, I have played with Kuro and, as Paul pointed out, put Seizan in several decks. Unfortunately while each of these creatures has positives, there are too many negatives to really make use of them as Commanders: Kyoki needs spirits and arcane spells (not easy in mono-colored) for an effect that does nothing on the table, Kuro costs a ton of mana, and Seizan benefits your opponents before he benefits you, which is always a bummer. However, Kuro was a great supporting player in a life gain deck I did a while back (Lady Evangela, I think) as he was able to machine gun the whole table at times. Seizan is great in those Rakdos "no pain, no gain" type of decks. Plus, a lot of those Kamigawa demons just look cool. So you just gotta find the right spots for them.

I did make a demon themed deck using Sol'Kanar (who I don't think you gave enough credit as swampwalk is pretty underrated):

http://puremtgo.com/articles/conqueror-commander-vol-lxxii-solkanar-swam...

Forgot to add: Avatar will by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 10/18/2012 - 16:11
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Forgot to add: Avatar will probably be the final article of the first cycle, representing the multicolor part of the spectrum (after Angel, Sphinx, Demon, Dragon, and Wurm as the monocolor bannermen).

After all, a certain movie (and Internet forums) made the word "avatar" really popular. Although, within MTG you should aim to use them in place of something more powerful than an annoying, paraplegic marine (or some forum user with too much time on their hands).

I think for the new Rakdos, by Leviathan at Wed, 02/27/2013 - 14:30
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I think for the new Rakdos, your "General Evaluation" would fit in perfectly for the "Commander Evaluation." Rakdos is not nearly as broken as he seems, and he's pretty fragile. He has a decent target on his head so you can't depend on him being out there. I'm pretty sure that there is no way that he is under consideration for any sort of banning, as Animar does the same thing, but with two protection abilities and better colors, and people love him. That being said, there are games where you can get out a turn 5 Ulamog with him, but that's essentially the same as Bribery on the right target. But he's so swingy and you have to prepare your deck as if you might not get him in play. This is all coming from recent experience (you'll see later this week...). Anyways, nice to see the update.

You're probably right (I by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 02/28/2013 - 12:40
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You're probably right (I still have to read your article about Rakdos), and thinking of banning was a little silly. Still Animar's acceleration is way slower (just counts the turn to get 10 free mana with it), and Bribery is based on what the given table has to offer, so you can't count on it to build a strategy on.

Xathrid Demon is my favorite by KaraZorEl at Wed, 02/27/2013 - 14:49
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Xathrid Demon is my favorite demon. I love having him about to troll around with life totals.

I'm a big fan of Elbus, I by ryanraze at Wed, 02/27/2013 - 15:43
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I'm a big fan of Elbus, I currently run him in a casual equipment deck with stoneforge. Attaching to an Ornithopter on turn 2/3 and attacking presents a huge problem in the early game.

what about shaman-o-pedia by Doomhed at Tue, 02/25/2014 - 14:07
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some of my favorite decks are my shaman deck and my mutant deck. since mutant doesn't have enough members, try shaman. there are shaman in all 5 colors.

There's almost 300 Shamans, by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 06:26
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There's almost 300 Shamans, it would kill me. :)